Changing Connotations Associated With Denim Fabric

2144 words - 9 pages

Semiotics: Semiotics helps us understand the meaning of things. It allows us to go into more depth then we would usually do. It is split up into two words semeion (sign) and logos (story).
Sign is split up into signified and signifier. Signified is the something else that is being represented whereas signifier is anything that stands for or represents anything and the elements.

“On any given day in most countries, nearly half the population is wearing blue jeans” (Miller and Woodward 2011).
The word jean originates from the French phrase ‘Bleu de Genes’ which means ‘the blue of Genoa’. Jeans were a, cotton twill weave fabric that was originally made in Genoa, Italy. The fabric was initially used to make cheap pants.
Denim originated from the French town of Nimes, which is now known as denim worldwide, this is because fabrics were named after geographic place of origin. Denim was a much more stronger and expensive cloth compared to the jeans fabric, it was cotton dyed indigo, with a white under wrap. It has known to be originally been used as bed curtains for the rich and clothing for the poor.

Around the early 1900s denim was used for work wear, during this time work wear was very fashionable. The most popular work wear for men to wear, were bib overalls. Bib overalls were associated with rural men and boys such as farmers and railroad workers for a long time. The Americans originally used overalls as military uniform; they were intended to act as a protective layer of clothing for the breeches and stockings. Denim later replaced the linen canvas originally used this was because the twill weaves of the fabric made the overalls extra strong and durable. These new denim overalls/coveralls became standard work wear at factories, construction sites and mines. The overalls had no restricting waistband, which made movement easier and more comfortable for work wear.

During the 1930s overalls became a symbol of sex appeal as posters of Rosie the riveter were posted around America. Before the 1930s high end department stores did not stock women dungarees, most women’s clothing that were stocked in department stores were mainly imported from French fashion houses. It was not until celebrity fashion influences of that time such as Greta Garbo and Katherine Hepburn, who were seen wearing bell-bottom dungarees on street clothing magazines that department stores decided to adopt them within their stores, even though women were first introduced to denim overalls in 1916, when they wore them in factories. Overalls were then also manufactured as comfortable childrenswear. As time went on people started referring bib overalls as dungarees. The word dungarees come from ‘the name for a coarse cloth made in the remote Indian village of Dongri’ (Salkeld and Winter 2013).
Dungarees became more of a fashion item instead of clothing worn by the working class, the 60s, 70s and 90s is when dungarees were at their most fashionable with hippies and hip-hop...

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